What is EMDR?
EMDR is a remarkable treatment method used to heal the symptoms of trauma, as well as other emotional conditions. EMDR is the most effective and rapid method for healing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as shown by extensive scientific research studies.
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, or sound, which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain releasing emotional experiences that are "trapped" in the nervous system. This assists the neurophysiological system, the basis of the mind/body connection, to free itself of blockages and reconnect itself.
EMDR allows a client to process an emotional experience that he/she cannot yet talk about, yet following an EMDR session find an ability to talk about it freely. Most importantly, it can eliminate stress surrounding the traumatic event, with the purpose of allowing new life into the once traumatized and emotionally difficult memory.
How does EMDR work?
When disturbing experiences happen, they are stored in the brain, with all the sights, sounds, thoughts, and feelings that accompany them. When a person is very upset, the brain seems to be unable to process the experience as it would normaly. Therefore, the negative thoughts and feelings of the traumatic event are "trapped" in the nervous system. Since the brain cannot process these emotions, the experience and/or it's accompanying feelings are often suppressed from consciousness. However, the distress lives on in the nervous system where it causes disturbances in the emotional functioning of the person (nightmares, vigilance, emotional numbness, avoidance of things that remind one of the trauma).
The EMDR technique does two very important things. First, it "unlocks" the negative memories and emotions stored in the nervous system, and second, it helps the brain to successfully process the experience.
I work gently with the client, guiding him or her to revisit the traumatic incident. When the memory is brought to mind, the feelings are re-experienced in a new way. EMDR makes it possible to gain the self-knowledge and perspective that will enable the client to choose their actions, rather than feeling powerless over their re-actions. This process can be complex if there are many experiences connected to the negative feelings. The EMDR therapy sessions continue until the traumatic memories and emotions are relieved.
What are the advantages of EMDR therapy?
Research studies show that EMDR is very effective in helping people process emotionally painful and traumatic experiences. When used in conjunction with other therapy modalities, EMDR helps move the client quickly from emotional distress to peaceful resolution of the issues or events involved.
EMDR sessions work amazingly fast. Processing even the most difficult memories can be achieved in a fraction of the time it would have taken with traditional therapy.
Traditional therapies often focus on memories from the unconscious mind, and then analyze their meaning to gain insight into the problem. EMDR clients also acquire valuable insights during therapy, but EMDR can short-cut the process and go right to the releasing stage. For more information on EMDR visit:
Who discovered EMDR?
In the late 1980's, psychologist Francine Shapiro, PhD., observed that particular eye movement reduced the intensity of disturbing thoughts in some clients. Dr. Shapiro decided to study this effect scientifically. In 1989, she reported in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, her success using a method she called EMDR to treat victims of trauma. Since that time, other therapists around the world have contributed to its development. EMDR has evolved into a highly effective technique that incorporates elements from various other treatment modalities.